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Prius Test Drive

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Posted by BRH on August 15, 2005, 5:13 pm
I just returned from test driving a Prius for the first time.  I was
quite impressed, but have a few questions:

I drove approximately 5 miles - 50% highway (about 65-70 mph), 50%
stop-and-go (not bumper-to-bumper - just normal traffic on a busy 3-lane
in-each-direction road with traffic lights).  The Prius had been sitting
in the hot sun (approx 94 degrees) before I pulled away, so AC was on
max for most of the time.  The readout showed an average MPG of 38.9 for
this trip.  My questions:

1. Is this MPG about normal under these conditions?  I probably drove a
bit harder than I normally drive, since I wanted check its acceleration.
2. I live in a hot climate (Richmond, VA).  How do you maximize your MPG
under hot conditions such as this?
3. The Prius I drove had Package #6 installed.  I don't want the NAV
system, but would like the upgraded 9-speaker stereo.  The dealer said
that the upgraded stero is available only with Package #6.  Is that
true?  If so, how much better is the 9-speaker stereo than the standard
6-speaker one?
4.  The dealer also said that there's no price negotiation on these
cars, but that he charges the exact MSRP and does not add a premium to
it.  Is that a good deal, or can these be had at a negotiated discount
from MSRP?

Overall, I was quite impressed - smooth, quiet ride; AC was quite
powerful; lots of cargo space.


Posted by Michelle Steiner on August 15, 2005, 5:56 pm

The first five minutes have the worst gas mileage of any trip.  This is
because the engine is cold.

I live in a very hot climate (Phoenix, AZ).  Best way to maximize
mileages for hot conditions is to drive during hours of darkness.  
Driving with the A/C on gives better mileage than with it off and the
windows open because of air drag.

It is also part of package 5.  But package 5 might not be available in
your region.  Check www.toyota.com/prius and click "build and price your
prius"; you will find out what packages are available for you.

I don't think the audio system is worth it; if you want a six-dish
changer, you can get it as an add on.  But it is the only way to get a
cassette player.

It is rare to find a dealer that will give any discount on a Prius;
there are still quite a few that add a "market adjustment" to the car.

-- Michelle

Stop Mad Cowboy Disease:  Impeach the son of a Bush.

Posted by RRG on August 16, 2005, 12:25 am
 Actually not true... very recent testing has shown the diff to be
negligible at best and slightly better to the window-down method. But I
thought it was moot on the Prius since the AC runs off the electrical
engine, not the gas engine. Am I incorrect about that last point?


Posted by Michelle Steiner on August 16, 2005, 1:30 am

Yes, it does run on the electrical engine; that's one of the reasons
that Toyota says that running with the AC on and the windows up gets
better gas mileage than running with the AC off and the windows down.

The Prius has one of the lowest drag coefficients of any car on the
road, so disrupting the air flow by opening the windows will have a
greater adverse effect than with most other cars.

Stop Mad Cowboy Disease:  Impeach the son of a Bush.

Posted by RRG on August 16, 2005, 5:42 am
 Thanks for the confirmation :-)


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